The role of physical education and exercise for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the effects on socialization, communication, behavior, fitness, and quality of life

  • Iordanis Iliadis
  • Nikos Apteslis
Keywords: physical exercise, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), socialization, communication, behavior, physical condition, quality of life


Autisms spectrum disorder (ASD) is often characterized by motor debilities and inabilities. Studies also show that children with ASD exhibit reduced skills and difficulty in increasing physical fitness compared to children of the typical population, during physical activity, with multiple health effects. On their health sports and exercise are useful as they reduce these motor inabilities, increase physical fitness, reduce the time of sedentary life, and provide a form of socialization to the child which also helps in other areas. However, international literature has yielded limited but useful results, exercises and sports activities require further exploration for children with ASD as it is observed that family, educators, and other experts find difficulties in adapting physical activity so that it achieves positive effects in areas such as communication, socialization, behavior, and fitness required for the daily activities of children, with the aim of improving quality of life. The purpose of the research was to review the international and domestic literature in order to find out about the efficacy and physical education of children with ASD. Also, the gathering of information on the characteristics of this population as well as controlling the impact of physical education and exercise in the fields of socialization, behavior, communication, fitness, and quality of life. We used specific databases with a lot of encouraging findings in all areas to investigate our cases. Specifically, all of the domains tested were in accordance with research data from low to moderate positive effects following children’s participation in exercise programs in the areas of socialization, behavior, communication, fitness, and quality of life. However, the limited literature and the gaps in the various surveys lead us to conclude that further research is needed in order to have a comprehensive picture of the above situation.

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